6 thoughts on Use Tagging for a Networked Index? Hmmmm….

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  1. Amy, thank you for the great post. Most people don’t get the concepts behind delicious I think becuse, laughing, their minds operate in a vacuum. We offer businesses a service – Ideascape – that uses delicious in a couple of different ways to find and discovery ideas. I think the concepts are simple, I have a tech background, but it seems to me that people resist not only what they don’t know but what they might learn. Anyway, thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Amy,

    Thanks for your interesting “adventure” stories. In return, here are some more-or-less random, but relevant thoughts.

    Tagging is much easier when the tagger doesn’t constrain tags he/she selects to those already defined, but the result is often much more useful when the tagging choices were more constrained.

    Tagging is much easier at the beginning of a tagging task when there are few tags to deal with, but more useful when the collection of tags has acquired more richness.

    Tagging decisons are much eaiser when the tags are broad, but the result is much more useful when the tags used are relatively narrow and focused.

    You say: “In some ways, creating an index is kind of like tagging.” That, of course, depends on what you mean by indexing. If you’re referring to computerized indexing, that’s not quite right because all the computer does is parse out the indexed content so the terms are searchable. Manual indexing almost always involves some kind of hierarchical structure of categories, which is much more structured than the kind of “free-hand” tagging you’re describing.

    You say: In tagging, “you identify keywords associated with topics or themes” and use those keywords for the tags. The problem is, keywords only imperfectly define topics or themes.

    You say: “There’s no reason you couldn’t be a bit more structured in how you specify tags if you wanted to.” Well there is a reason, and that is the extra work that tagging within a structure requires – often a lot of extra work.

    Some additional thoughts:

    While looking at what tags others apply to the same items helps in the conceptualizing process, it doesn’t necessarily promote consistency. A collection that’s tagged inconsistently is far less useful than one that is consistently tagged.

    There’s the task of conceptualizing what the item represents, and then the task of choosing the tags to use. These two tasks are often merged together, but they are very, very different. Consider that:

    * Each different “tagger” conceptualizes things different from
    every other “tagger.”
    * Each tagger conceptualizes the same kind of content differently
    at different times.
    * Each tagger associates a certain meaning with the tag they select.
    * Each tagger will associate a somewhat different meaning to a tag
    they selected later on.
    * Each tagger will have a somewhat different interpretation of the
    meaning of another tagger’s tag.

  3. One Del.icio.us Ideascape
    A week or so ago, I was exploring del.icio.us to learn what was new in the blogosphere. I usually start with my own tags (bookmarking, folksonomy, taxonomy, content management, knowledge management, idea management, enterprise blogging, innovation, etc

  4. As a librarian and a del.icio.us user, I think that maybe we could apply this to libraries. How? Let the users (even if there will only be few of them who will respond to the call) tag the books that they search for and borrow. That way, we have an on-going user study/feedback mechanism that could help reference librarians gauge what they mean to say during reference interviews/making requests from librarians.

    I love the interactive way del.icio.us allows people to index stuff =) I get more informative links from my friends this way because of the shared tags we use =)

    I also am subscribed to your del.icio.us accout 🙂